Thursday, July 21, 2011

Author's Corner, Eleanor Estes

This afternoon before Vacation Bible School (it that adventure exhausting or what?) we finished Ginger Pye, by Eleanor Estes (6th grade reading level).

Oh, my goodness.

I cried for most of the last chapter, giving myself a wallop of a headache. It was a happy cry though. Do endings get any happier than this? The only sadness for my boys was that it came to an end at all. The main characters, 10- and 9-year-old brother and sister Jerry and Rachel, felt like friends to my boys.  How Paul and Peter would have loved to hang out in this 1951 neighborhood!

As I closed the book and headed for the tissue box, Paul begin perusing our shelves immediately, wondering what we would read next. He wanted to know if there was a sequel to Ginger Pye.

Yes, there is! Pinky Pye  (grade level 5.9) is the sequel to Ginger Pye.

Eleanor Estes, once a librarian, began her writing career with The Moffats, in 1941. She started this heartwarming story while in bed, recovering from tuberculosis. Here is her Amazon Page, listing all her books. Here is a biography.

Her Moffats books are a series, two of which are Newberry-honored books. The novel The Hundred Dresses (grade level 5.0) was also chosen as a Newberry Honor. Ginger Pye is her only Newberry Medal book.

What success! I can't think of another author we've read with more Newberry awards.

Most notable books:

The Moffats, 1941
The Middle Moffat, 1942 (Newberry Honor)
Rufus M, 1943 (Newberry Honor)
The Hundred Dresses, 1944 (Newberry Honor)
Ginger Pye, 1951 (Newberry Medal)
Pinkey Pye, 1958

The Moffats   -     
        By: Eleanor Estes
        File:The Hundred Dresses.jpg

Newberry honored books show a bronze circle award on the front cover, while the medaled books show a gold circle award.

6 Endearing Things About Ginger Pye:

~ Can a brother and sister be better friends than these two?  I don't think so. The book is about their relationship, really, though the plot line has to do with Ginger Pye, their dog, being kidnapped early in the book. With all its meanderings into a child's mind, this story warmed my heart from page 1.

~ This story will make you say YES!, the next time your kids ask for a dog. You'll suddenly feel that every kid needs a dog. (If we had the money to feed a dog, I'd go to the pound immediately.)

~ Everything is wholesome and safe in this neighborhood. Kids could wander, explore, and stay out 'till dark. The author draws you into an earlier time, delighting your heart every step of the way--making you long for the past.

~ Eleanor Estes started with pages of notes about her own childhood, and from there, she wrote her delightful books. It's amazing how she's captured the very essence of childhood--as though she'd lived it just yesterday.

~ There's a wonderful teenager in this book, Sam Doody, who makes your heart cheer. He's perfect for young kids to look up to.

~ Chapter Two, Dusting the Pews, is hilariously funny. I was laughing so hard at one point, I could barely read on.

What can I say?  Eleanor Estes is my new favorite author, next to my long-time favorite, Louisa May Alcott.


Jess said...

kiersten really enjoyed ginger pye as well. she also got quite a kick out of how the church pews were 'dusted. :) we're read the hundred dresses and are reading the moffats just now. :) we didn't get to read pinky pye, though, so let me know what you think!

oh, the joy and blessing of being able to read.

Christine said...

Jess, I'm hoping to pick up Pinky Pye so we can start it today, but there's a heat advisory and I have no air conditioning in the van. We'll see. The heat index is supposed to go up to 109 degrees today.

How's your weather there?

And the church (for VBS) has a broken air conditioner. Fun. :)

Katherine said...

We loved Ginger Pye! We read it about 4 years ago and are currently in the middle of re-reading it right now. Eleanor Estes writing style reminds me of Beverly Cleary, my favorite children's author. We haven't read anything else she has written. I'll look forward to seeing what you think of Pinky Pye. We may read that next.

Christine said...

I went to a large library near us and can you believe they didn't carry Pinky Pye or The Moffat's? Nor any other of her books except for The Hundred Dresses. That one is only about 60 pages, large type, so I'll read it while we wait for the others. Should only be a couple days. Peter balked at the "dresses" in the title, but I want them to be exposed to a wide variety--not just traditionally boy books.

I picked up Ginger Pye from the thrift store a few months ago. So much easier when you own the books, and have the blessing of passing them along to your grandkids.

Sandi said...

We've loved these books too. You pecked my interest in reading more about the author herself.